Category E fire station for Sungai Asap in the works, says federal minister

Artist's impression of a category E fire station.

KUCHING, May 19: Sungai Asap residents and those in the surrounding areas in Belaga will get a fire station very soon.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin in a statement today, said that a category E fire station will be built sometime end of June and it is targetted to be completed in four months.

The cost to build a category E fire station is about RM500,000.

It will be fully manned by auxiliary and volunteer firefighters.

There are 15 longhouses in Sungai Asap, which is a resettlement area for those affected by the construction of the Bakun Dam.

A fire recently gutted two blocks of Uma Bawang in April, rendering more than 400 people homeless and to-date, the resettlement area has recorded six longhouse fires.

“Our Fire and Rescue Department Malaysia (Bomba) presently have four categories of fire station. They are referred to as Category A, B, C and D. We have been looking into the possibility of putting up a new category E specifically to address disasters of longhouse fires in Sarawak,” she said.

The ministry has taken note of longhouse fire incidents in Sarawak over the years and Zuraida acknowledged it has reached a worrying stage.

According to official statistics, a total of 24 longhouses were razed by fire in 2018 and 680 families were made homeless.

“We have been looking into some viable solutions to reduce the incidences. Together with my ministry officers, we’ve visited some of the longhouses in the state and recently in Kanowit which includes Rumah Unggkang, Ludan, Meluda, Ngunmbang and Belalai.

“We also received feedback on the ground during our visits to understand the problems and difficulties faced by families living at the longhouses and to look into ways to improve on the facilities available,” she added.

Meanwhile, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Hulu Rajang chairman Abun Sui Anyit handed over RM15,000 as disaster fund on behalf of Zuraida and her ministry for the fire victims of Uma Bawang.

He said funds shall be channeled via Persatuan Anak-Anak Daerah Belaga Kapit to the fire victims. — DayakDaily